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Customer Reviews: 4
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Helpful Votes: 15

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A Cultural History of the United States Through the Decades - The 1940s
A Cultural History of the United States Through the Decades - The 1940s
by Michael V. Uschan
Edition: Hardcover
39 used & new from $0.09

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Addition to a High School Library, July 23, 2008
I purchased this book for a 1940s literature & culture college course. The book succeeds in providing summaries, facts & figures, and explanations for the decade's top economic, social, political, and cultural issues. This book is written in a very simple and 'just an overview'-esque style, so it is mainly targeted to (and perfect for) junior high/high school students needing some background information about this time in American history. "A Cultural History of the United States: 1940s" would make a great addition to any secondary school library.

In a Lonely Place (Femmes Fatales)
In a Lonely Place (Femmes Fatales)
by Dorothy B. Hughes
Edition: Paperback
35 used & new from $7.93

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Worth the Read, July 23, 2008
Dorothy B. Hughes is certainly a powerful (and sadly over-looked) writer. In "In a Lonely Place" she depicts a vivid, hypnotic vision of post-WW2 LA, and she draws a scarily realistic and sometimes sympathetic portrait of "protagonist" Dix Steele. The novel is notable for its narrative twists & turns, its suspense (that most of the 'action' is not explicity show is both terrifying and brilliant, from a technical standpoint), and its tendency to turn both traditional noir structure and stock characters on their heads, so to speak. If you like noir or Cold War-era-informed fiction, give the unusual, the compelling, and the bone-chilling "In a Lonely Place" a chance.

Mad Men: Season 1
Mad Men: Season 1
DVD ~ Jon Hamm
Offered by Super Fast DVDs
Price: $11.29
277 used & new from $0.96

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-See AMC TV, July 11, 2008
This review is from: Mad Men: Season 1 (DVD)
"Mad Men" is an undeniably insightful and intriguing show. As the expression goes, there's so much there THERE--(specifically, excellent writing, acting, score, sets, and themes)--that these characters seem like realistic and engaging people, and, as a result, you feel compelled to know how their personal and professional lives progress.

Mad Men boasts a truly wonderful ensemble cast--while Don Draper IS one of the most complex and richly drawn protagonists in recent years, the supporting players (Betty Draper, Peggy Olsen, Pete Campbell, Roger Sterling, just to name a few) are so likable (even at their worst moments) or so 'you love to hate them' that you get a good sense of the characters even after just a few episodes into the series.

I recommend this show for viewers who enjoy watching memorable, flawed characters from a distant time (a la Deadwood), who like classic films about big business and NYC (a la The Apartment or Sweet Smell of Success), or people who enjoy studying gender/racial/sexual orientation issues through the prism of a 1960s workplace.

Simply put, Mad Men is engaging, visually stimulating, nostalgic, sensual, tense, witty, and philosophical. It reminds us of how American culture has changed over the decades--and what things (both awful and eternal) have remained the same.

Searching for Jane Austen
Searching for Jane Austen
by Emily Auerbach
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.55
55 used & new from $4.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delight, June 24, 2008
"Searching for Jane Austen" is a wonderful read for any (even casual) Austen enthusiast. My first contact with this work was at a literary festival where Emily Auerbach spoke about her research--and her lecture was so compelling that I read the book quickly, and it encouraged me to learn more about Jane Austen's works.

The book manages to shed light on both biographical/historical/cultural subjects (how the Austen family tried to mute the image of the writer after her death, and how some (male) scholars have denigrated Austen's work throughout the decades) while also discussing interesting themes and interpretations of Austen's cannon. [Each Austen heroine, hero, and villain gets proper time and scrunity.]

"Searching for Jane Austen" is well-organized, with each of the six novels getting its own chapter, in addition to beginning and concluding sections about Austen's life and legacy. The book made me appreciate each of her novels in new ways (even ones that are often underappreciated or not discussed, such as Northanger Abbey), and even though this work is scholarly, it was fun reading. Auerbach dissects her subject fairly, but she treats Jane Austen's works with such admiration and care that you want to read Pride and Prejudice (or Emma, or Persuasion) all over again.

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